Swimmers demand inquiry into cafeteria issue

SHILLONG: A group of local swimmers has demanded the state government to institute an inquiry and take action against alleged ‘irregularities’ in the sports department with regards to a cafeteria set up inside the premises of the Crinoline Swimming Pool.

One of the local swimmers, Shemphang Lyngdoh on Thursday while talking to media persons said that Sports & Youth Affairs minister, Banteidor Lyngdoh must constitute an inquiry into the matter

According to him, the group had earlier submitted a complaint on March this year, but till date there was no sign of action taken on the part of the government.

Lyngdoh said the RTI filed by them had revealed the alleged “benami transaction” taken place with regards to a Cafeteria set up inside the premises of the Crinoline Swimming Pool.

“It was found out that the Meghalaya Aquatic Swimmers’ Association (MASA) had leased out the contract for running the cafeteria to the Polo Towers Limited on April 1, this year,” he said.

As per the report of the RTI, the State Sports Council (SSC) had allotted the contract to the MASA on September 25, last year on depositing of Rs 25,000 annually and Rs 2,000 as monthly rent.

“Interestingly, the MASA is earning Rs 12,000 as monthly rent from the Polo Towers Ltd, which is running the cafeteria,” he said while demanding immediate closing down of the cafeteria until such irregularities are resolved.

Moreover, the local swimmer also questioned the sports authorities for allegedly violating the rules by entertaining “unregistered” sports associations to run the Crinoline Swimming Pool.

“I wonder how the SSC is entertaining such associations when in the RTI reply it states that there was no information whether these associations are registered with the Register of Society. The question also arises how these associations are allowed to be affiliated with the Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA),” he said.

However, Lyngdoh said the RTI stated that only in the year 2011, the Meghalaya Swimmers Association (MSA) had collected Rs 1.70 lakh from entry ticket and Rs 1.72 lakh from membership fees adding “But it was made clear that the department had not leased out the Pool to anybody since 2009.”

“We regret to say that instead of promoting the swimming as a sport, the department seems to be more interested in commercial activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the RTI findings further revealed that one person was appointed for two jobs in the department in 2015.

“The State Sports Council had appointed one Nigrak Momin as casual staff at the swimming pool and the same person was engaged as a lifeguard at the swimming pool by the Director of Sports and Youth Affairs. He was paid Rs 5,000 each by the two authorities,” Anthony Nongbri said while quoting the RTI report.

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